Tuesday, 1 December 2015

November 2015 - Training recap

It is finally XC season! The first colds, the first snow and, as usual, the first cross-country races. November started with the long-waited Berlin and Brandenburg XC Champs, where I managed to get a 7th place in the long-distance (2nd in the age-group 30-35). Then a very intense measurements plan lead me to Kassel for one week, where I could enjoy a couple of track sessions in the beautiful main stadium. After the commitments related to the university, the "classical" marathon relay (now renamed to Airfield Run) allowed to run a pretty quick 5k for the Leidig24 Triathlon Team. Even if I faced a strong headwind for around 2 km, I still managed to run a 16'45" that, given the part of the season and the weather conditions, left me with quite a good feeling. Next, just a couple of days ago and always with the same team, I ran for the first time the Berliner Ruder-Club XC relay. A beautiful event indeed, with the interesting format of 4x6 km in the woods. Also, we won and that made the whole thing even sweeter!

A lot of handshakes before the start (Berlin and Brandenburg XC Champs).
Crowded start at the Berlin and Brandenburg XC Champs.
Enjoying a hot tea right after the victorious Berliner Ruder-Club XC relay.
Holger Leidig (full left) and part of the Leidig24 team, right after the Berliner Ruder-Club XC relay.

As usual, you can see all my training sessions details on the SportTracks mobi service.
Here the diary entries for the past November:

Su 01-11-15 Easy 20', 2 strides, 3 x uphill reps circuit (downhill jog rest), CD.
Mo 02-11-15 Easy 35', legs and core strength.
Tu 03-11-15 Off.
We 04-11-15 Slow 20'. Easy 15', 2 strides, 4x500 m @ 3k race pace (200 m jog rest), CD.
Th 05-11-15 Slow 30'.
Fr 06-11-15 Off.
Sa 07-11-15 RACE: 9.6 km (BBM Cross - Luckenwalde).
Su 08-11-15 Slow 45'.
Mo 09-11-15 Measurements @ Kassel Uni.
Tu 10-11-15 Easy 20', 2 strides, 1x600 m (1'41"), 3' walk rest, 3x300 m (54"-49"-47", 100 m jog rest), 5' walk rest, easy 4x200 m, CD.
We 11-11-15 Off.
Th 12-11-15 Easy 30', 2 strides, 1x800 m (fast straights, medium corners), 3' walk rest, 3x200 m (200 m jog rest), CD.
Fr 13-11-15 Off.
Sa 14-11-15 45' with some XC.
Su 15-11-15 Arms, legs and core strength. Easy 40'.
Mo 16-11-15 40' with some fartlek.
Tu 17-11-15 40' ice speed skating.
We 18-11-15 Easy 40' with some XC sections.
Th 19-11-15 Easy 20' with some strides.
Fr 20-11-15 Off.
Sa 21-11-15 35' jog, Adidas RUNBASE Berlin pre-opening, arms, legs and core strength.
Su 22-11-15 RACE: 5 km (TÜV Rheinland Airfield Run - Berlin).
Mo 23-11-15 40' ice speed skating.
Tu 24-11-15 Easy 55'.
We 25-11-15 Easy 15', 2 strides, 1x600 m, 200 m jog rest, 1x300 m, 3' walk rest, 4x200 m on grass (200 m jog rest), 15'.
Th 26-11-15 Easy 20'.
Fr 27-11-15 Easy 55'.
Sa 28-11-15 Easy 30'.
Su 29-11-15 RACE: 6.2 km (32. Berliner Ruder-Club Cross-Staffellauf - Berlin). Arms and core strength.
Mo 30-11-15 Slow 30'.


Sunday, 1 November 2015

October 2015 - Training recap

October is usually an easy month for running. Not for my PhD though. The annual Autumn School we organise and a recent publication of ours on foot strike patterns really filled every free spot in my schedule. A little cold around half month took me down for around 10 days, but was nothing serious fortunately. In preparation for another full month, I did only a few kilometres and started to get into the XC mood!

As usual, you can see all my training sessions details on the SportTracks mobi service.
Here the diary entries for the past October:

Th 01/10/2015 Off.
Fr 02/10/2015 Measurements @ HU Berlin, easy 30'.
Sa 03/10/2015 RACE: 11.9 km XC (Sägerserie 2015 - 1. Lauf).
Su 04/10/2015 Slow 30'. 40' aggressive inline (skate park).
Mo 05/10/2015 Easy 35'.
Tu 06/10/2015 Off.
We 07/10/2015 Off.
Th 08/10/2015 Off.
Fr 09/10/2015 Off.
Sa 10/10/2015 Slow 30'.
Su 11/10/2015 Off.
Mo 12/10/2015 Easy 50' with some hills. 30' ice skating.
Tu 13/10/2015 15', 15' fartlek, 15'.
We 14/10/2015 Slow 40'.
Th 15/10/2015 Ill. Core strength.
Fr 16/10/2015 Off. Ill.
Sa 17/10/2015 40' XC roller ski.
Su 18/10/2015 Slow 25', arms, legs and core strength.
Mo 19/10/2015 Easy 45'.
Tu 20/10/2015 Easy 40'.
We 21/10/2015 45' with some XC.
Th 22/10/2015 Slow 30'.
Fr 23/10/2015 Off.
Sa 24/10/2015 40' ice speed skating. 10', running drills, 2 strides, 5x200 m (200 m jog rest), CD. Arms, legs and core strength.
Su 25/10/2015 Legs and core strength. Easy 55'.
Mo 26/10/2015 Easy 30'.
Tu 27/10/2015 Core strength.
We 28/10/2015 45' XC.
Th 29/10/2015 15', 15' fartlek, 15'.
Fr 30/10/2015 Off.

Sa 31/10/2015 Easy 60'.


Saturday, 17 October 2015

Do you know how you run? A study on foot strike patterns.

In the past three years, for my PhD, I had the chance to evaluate the running technique of around 250 people. I dealt with a wide spectrum of experience levels an running styles. The most common feedback I received, though, is that people don't know how they run. Even semi-pros.

An article about foot strike patterns, of which I am the first author, was published two days ago on the Annals of Biomedical Engineering. This study was mainly aimed to validate an automatic foot strike patterns assessment method. But what is the foot strike pattern (FSP)? Nothing more than the way our feet come in contact with the ground. If you simply divide the foot into three equal parts, you can call them fore- mid- and rearfoot (see Figure 1).

Figure 1 Foot division and nomenclature.

By looking at which of the three parts comes first in contact with the ground, one can determine the FSP and classify it as forefoot, midfoot or rearfoot strike (FS, MS and RS, respectively). It would be possible to use a videocamera to analyze this kind of events, but we went a step further by using a pressure plate integrated in a treadmill. With an algorithm we developed, we are now able to recognise the FSP automatically, without the need of looking at the data. In Figure 2 you can see what happens on the pressure plate at impact and the relative video frame captured by a slow motion camera.

Figure 2 Video and pressure plate data for different FSPs.

Funny thing is that, if you ask the people how they think they run, very often they cannot predict their FSP. Interestingly enough, though, it is very likely that they will show a RS pattern while running shod. Across the 145 people measured (85 male, 60 female) almost 9 every 10 were striking with the heel first when wearing shoes. On the contrary, only 5 out of 10 were keeping this kind of pattern when running barefoot (see Figure 3). Apparently, the fear of getting hurt prevails on the well-established coordination patterns.

Figure 3 FSP distribution across two running conditions at preferred speed.

The reasons why people choose one or the other FSP are far from being completely understood. And this is what makes my job awesome.

The full text of the afore-mentioned article is available here.